Some years ago, I purchased a keyboard for one of the ancestors of the smartphone. Recently, I ordered a reserve ‘hand’ to hold my phone and kindle. I also have a drawing tablet to use as an alternative for my mouse. Why? The strain of working with a mouse, typing on a small screen, and clicking on links got too much for my hands, shoulders, and arms. To think that it needs to be so complicated. Yet, handwriting strains as much if you write a lot. Imagine all the letters it would take to keep up with online acquaintances – and add the work one puts into a book. My shoulders would be permanently attached to my ears if my only option were handwriting.
Was it easier in the days of the first typing machines? Clearly, social networks and the entire networking philosophy have changed the way we live. Would we want to change it back? My answer would be a resounding NO. We live and fit into the circumstances our society offers – and it is good so.
We can discuss the environmental impact on the world we live in until we are blue in our heads, but we still have little influence on innovations. Sometimes, it feels as if every development necessitates another, and we, the humans, stand by with no power to change what we call progress. Did people ever influence the world? We seem to float along a stream, never knowing where it will take us. Then we talk of destiny or fate and wash our hands. Still, one person against the world never makes for much of a change. Of course, we can always fall back on that story of the woodchopper who became president of the United States.
There will always be solitary voices that have an impact – for better or for worse.
Don’t forget that some of those solitary voices have brought war and misery rather than good to the nations. Having said that, it is still true that we can take baby steps towards a better world. How? Through our way to tackle the world. Through our words and convictions. We can create an impact in our sphere of influence, but if we don’t all pull in the same direction at the same time our efforts won’t leave more than scratches on the surface. There is much to be said for our modern world – but the negative impact that our way of living causes may well outweigh the good parts. Maybe it has always been this way. History certainly comes across as a series of blunders that got repaired, sometimes less than adequately. Still, if we don’t dare to hope and, buoyed up by such hopes, act, we will fail.
How can we avoid facing that we live in a complex world and that platitudes won’t cut it in the big picture?
Alone, we don’t amount to much. We need solidarity but, more than that, we need a consensus about what we want from the world, and what we will give to achieve our goals. Life will always remain an enigma – but we have a right and a duty to make the best of every day. Who said that life was going to be easy told a lie.
© HMH, 2021